Angela Gettis was, by all reports, a model student and a cheerleader who was cheering for her school, George Washington Prep High School, in the Los Angeles Unified School District area. Angela was only a sixteen year old high school sophomore, but she was already a member of ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) and planned to go to college in order to study forensic science. Yesterday, she was cheering at a game, and the game was just about over, and she and passed out. She was briefly revived, but then proceeded to go into cardiac arrest. CPR was begun by the coaches, the ambulance came, but she was pronounced dead at a local hospital three hours later.
The writers of the articles reporting this say that "This is a terrible loss for the community and for her family", and indeed it is. They have no idea, and of course, I do. My family and I send deepest condolences to the family of Angela Gettis, today,and for all the difficult days to come. I do hope they find their way to this blog, at some point in the future. Of course, an autopsy is planned, but physicians already believe this will be logged as a "sudden cardiac arrhythmic death" just as Daniel's was, almost three years ago now.
The official word is still that Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome is rare, yet all the kids I profile here on this blog, and all the parents I have met who tell a similar story to mine, would seem to indicate that this is simply not so. Why are we in America, not requiring baseline EKGs for all kids age 12 and older, especially before PE class participation or participation in sports ? AEDs are popping up in more places than ever. Was an AED used on Angela ? Why doesn't every pediatrician in the US discuss the potential signs and symptoms, and the potential LACK OF SYMPTOMS, and simple need for screening for all children and teens for SADS ? Godspeed Angela. Please tell Daniel I love and miss him very much.
UPDATE: As of October 8,2011, Angela's cause of death remains inconclusive and is awaiting a toxicology screen. This implies that as in our son Daniel's case, no physical cause for sudden cardiac arrest was seen on autopsy.